Posted: Aug 15, 2012 10:49 PM by Keli Moore
Updated: Aug 16, 2012 10:10 AM
The U.S. faces its worst drought in more than half a century. Much of our country's corn and soybean crop has been lost and it's all driving up food prices.
Here on the Central Coast, some wineries are prepared for a long dry spell.
Niner Wine Estates in Paso Robles is one of a hundred vineyards on the Central Coast that has gotten creative by using sustainable practices to water its crop.
"This is a treatment pond designed to reprocess winery waster water," Rob Miller said Wednesday as he stood next to a treatment pond at Niner Wine Estates in Paso Robles.
Niner Wine Estates sits on more than 50 acres of land and uses millions of gallons of water every year.
"These areas have to depend on their own water resources and that's usually the ground water beneath the our feet," said Miller.
Rob Miller, who is part of the Wallace Group, helped engineer the water project at Niner Wine Estates.
Even though California is not currently in a long-term drought, water is precious in North County even during rainy years, he said.
"Some of the water comes from the drains that are inside the winery," he explained.
From recycling water to collecting rain water from its roofs, Niner re-uses one million gallons of water every year.
"To be creative and not just depend on pumping it out of the ground is a great way to survive drought cycles. And it is something what we do here, because we know that we have droughts, so we plan for it," he said.
Planning for it isn't cheap. It can cost hundred of thousands of dollars in investments, but Miller said there will be long term payoffs and less fallout from the kind of headlines we're all seeing this summer.
"It's one thing to depend on mother nature, but this reduces that dependence, " Miller said.
Miller explained these techniques could be viable in the Midwest and other parts of the country where the drought is taking its toll.
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